Prometheus Awards honors first Australian sf writer; Dave Freer wins Best Novel for Cloud-Castles

Science fiction and fantasy is written all over the world – and LFS members have nominated fiction from several continents and many countries over the decades.

More than ever, the Prometheus Awards have become truly international.

For the first time, the Libertarian Futurist Society has recognized an Australian writer as winner of the Prometheus Award for Best Novel.

Dave Freer (Photo courtesy of author)

Dave Freer, an Australian who lives in Tasmania, has won the 2023 Prometheus Award for Best Novel for novels published in 2022.

Continue reading Prometheus Awards honors first Australian sf writer; Dave Freer wins Best Novel for Cloud-Castles

First contact, social contracts, slavery and freedom: An Appreciation of Ken MacLeod’s Learning the World, the 2006 Best Novel winner

To make clear why past winners deserve recognition as pro-freedom sf/fantasy and how they fit the Prometheus Award, Appreciations of past winners have been written and posted. Here’s the Appreciation for Ken MacLeod’s Learning the Worldthe 2006 Prometheus Best Novel winner:

MacLeod’s inventive first-contact novel explores the politics and uncertainties involved from two perspectives: the natives of the planet and the “alien” (human) visitors.

In some ways modeled on classic Heinlein juveniles and a departure from his other future-Earth-solar-system novels exploring the implications of libertarian and Marxist ideas, Learning the World offers as a primary viewpoint character a teen girl living on an interstellar colony ship about to enter a new solar system.

Continue reading First contact, social contracts, slavery and freedom: An Appreciation of Ken MacLeod’s Learning the World, the 2006 Best Novel winner

Identity, anarchy, robots with rights and space colonization: An Appreciation of Ken MacLeod’s The Stone Canal, the 1998 Prometheus Best Novel winner

To make clear why past winners deserve recognition as pro-freedom or anti-authoritarian sf/fantasy and how each fits our award, we’ve published review-essays of all past Prometheus Award-winners. Here’s the latest Appreciation for Ken MacLeod’s The Stone Canal, the 1998 Best Novel winner:

By Michael Grossberg

Ken MacLeod’s The Stone Canal ranges widely in its exploration of different political systems on different planets in a future marked by wars, revolutions, space colonization and a cyberworld in which people’s memories and personalities can be downloaded or uploading to clones on demand.

Among the many exciting ideas that MacLeod explores in his ambitious 1997 novel – Book 2 in his Fall Revolution series, but set earlier than The Cassini Division – are several of special interest to libertarian sf fans – including his complex and ambiguous depiction of capitalist anarchy on Earth, how free markets might develop on a terraformed planet in another solar system and the possibility of independent robots with individual rights.

The settings are far-flung, too, from 20th century Scotland to a 21st century extra-solar planet called New Mars with a free market. It’s a  future of longer life-spans but also new kinds of death.

Continue reading Identity, anarchy, robots with rights and space colonization: An Appreciation of Ken MacLeod’s The Stone Canal, the 1998 Prometheus Best Novel winner

Ideological factions amid high-tech surveillance: An Appreciation of Ken MacLeod’s The Star Fraction, the 1996 Prometheus Best Novel winner

The LFS’s Appreciation series aims to make clear what libertarian futurists see in each of our past winners and how they fit the distinctive focus of our award on liberty. Here’s our Appreciation for Ken MacLeod’s The Star Fraction, the 1996 Best Novel winner:

By Michael Grossberg

The Star Fraction, a 1995 novel by Ken MacLeod, established the Scottish sf novelist’s international reputation for blending sf with a dizzying array of balkanized politics and ideological factions (including highly self-aware libertarians and socialists).

Set in a fragmented and conflicted mid-21st-century Britain beset by political factions and high-tech surveillance after a brief third world war and leftist Labour Party policies have led to economic and social decay, this is the first novel in MacLeod’s Fall Revolution series, which continued with The Stone Canal, The Cassini Division, and The Sky Road.

Among the interesting and unusual characters and forces affecting this future are a Christian-turned-atheist teenaged programmer eager to escape his fundamentalist subculture, a rogue computer program manipulating events, a woman scientist researching memory-enhancement drugs, and a communist security mercenary with a smart gun and information that might spark change.

Continue reading Ideological factions amid high-tech surveillance: An Appreciation of Ken MacLeod’s The Star Fraction, the 1996 Prometheus Best Novel winner